November 3, 2022

SDR Essentials for Securing the Bag

Written by Karli Stone

Anyone in sales knows that being a sales rep requires a knack for selling, a strong work ethic, and a competitive spirit. For those who are successful, it can lead to big commission checks and quick promotions.

Jasper Guilaran, Manuel Martinez, and Isaac Cruz are three SDRs crushing it here at Apollo HQ (not to mention major up-and-coming YouTube stars with their Sales As Usual podcast). In our recent Apollo webinar, they shared their best practices for being a successful sales rep in an ultra-competitive, high-growth company.

Stick with us as we recap the event and uncover their pro tips for building better relationships, booking more meetings, and closing more deals.

We’ll discuss:

  • The one thing every SDR should be doing
  • Best ways to win at cold emailing and cold calling
  • Top sales tips and sales influencers
  • How to work efficiently as an SDR

TLDR: We’ve included all of the tips you’ll read here plus more in our SDR Essentials sheet. Download it here!

Topic #1: What is the one thing that every SDR should know (and do)?

SDRs are the Swiss army knives of sales—juggling prospecting, outreach, lead qualification, strategy testing, and dozens of other tasks.

Our panel members understand these expectations better than anyone and they boiled down a few basics that every SDR should do to transform their mindset and improve their workflow.

Be self-aware

When SDRs are aware of their weaknesses and strengths they not only have better cold calls and emails, but they create a clear path for success and growth in their careers.

An easy way to better understand your strengths and areas of growth is by actively seeking feedback and learning opportunities.

“I use Apollo to go back and listen to all my calls, as well as my peer’s calls,” says Manuel, “I also like to share my calls with my manager to get feedback on where I can improve. I think this is a game-changer for growing as an SDR.”

Stay persistent and don’t get discouraged

Selling is a game of rejection.

One of the worst things you can do is take “no” personally and allow it to discourage you. “I want you to know that it’s all a part of the game,” Isaac says, “No matter how great you are at socializing or at outbound, rejection happens. Be very, very persistent—that’s the key.”

Sometimes it can take up to nine touches just to get one response. The best SDRs push through the silence with new strategies and a positive, persistent mindset.

Bonus: Isaac mentions that finally booking a meeting with a prospect who has been ghosting you is one of the best feelings in sales. The boost in confidence is unmatched!

Be mindful of your intent

Manuel, Isaac, and Jasper are all in agreeance—commission breath stinks and your prospect can smell it from a mile away!

SDRs should always be mindful of their intentions and how they come across in their interactions with prospects. For example, if you go into cold calls with the sole intention of booking meetings you will probably say things that you shouldn’t. Your language will be pushier, you’ll be less focused on the prospect, and it will be clear that you’re in it for yourself.

“Your leads will be able to feel that,” Jasper says, “Instead, I suggest that you let go of assumptions because, at the end of the day, it’s not about you, it’s about the prospects.”

Topic #2: How to stay hot when you are cold emailing and cold calling

The next topic is something relevant to any and every SDR’s daily cadence—keeping momentum going during cold outreach.

Our panel members had a lot of helpful insights on the highs and lows of cold calling and emailing. Here are there their tips for staying on your outbound grind:

  • Have relevant info on your prospect. Always do your research before you make a touchpoint. Use LinkedIn and a reliable B2B database to find relevant company, industry, and personal information. This will help you personalize your initial conversations and snag your lead’s attention.
  • Transparency with your prospect—it works! “One of my favorite strategies is telling the prospect that I am cold calling,” Manuel says, “In my experience eight times out of ten, they will listen to your pitch.” Transparency builds trust. Try out Manuel’s method next time you pick up the phone.
  • Be human. The people you sell to are humans just like you. Authentic conversations and meaningful interactions get you very far.
  • Take breaks. No one wants to be on the phone for 5-6 hours a day. One of Isaac’s tricks for staying hot is a simple one: take a breather, go for a walk, drink some coffee or tea, then get back to your groove.
  • Be aware of your tonality. How you say something is often more important than what you say. The best SDRs pick a cold call opener that they are comfortable with and deliver it with authenticity. Those are the openers that will bring you the most sales success.
  • Deposit value; don’t withdraw it. Not every email needs to have a big call-to-action. Rather than asking for a prospect’s time or energy, provide them with value instead (i.e. relevant content, personalized videos, etc.)

Hacks for cold emailing in Apollo

When you chat with three Apollo SDRs about cold emailing, you can bet you’re going to get some best-in-class tips for increasing your open rates in Apollo….

Hack #1: Create Apollo email templates to streamline engagement. When you connect your Gmail or Outlook inboxes to Apollo, you can easily pull out all the templates you and your team have created and choose the right message for the specific persona you’re engaging with. “It makes your day-to-day workflow so much easier,” Manuel says.

Hack #2: Use a prospect’s contact page in Apollo during your cold call. Work history, company information, location, relevant technologies, funding information, and intent signals—all there for you to leverage into creating a personalized and relevant sales conversation (without the hours of call prep beforehand!).

Hack #3: Record and send Vidyard videos for enhanced email personalization. Video thumbnails can increase clicks by 50% and with an Apollo-Vidyard integration, you can record and send a funny, witty, or helpful video to spice up your cold emails and create engagement.

Topic #3: How can SDRs stay sharp? Who should you follow?

One thing that is super important for an SDR (and anyone who is trying to grow in their career) is to listen to the right people. By identifying the experts and giving them a place on your social feed, you can receive daily doses of sales best practices that lead to crushed quotas and bigger commission checks.

Here’s what Manuel, Isaac, and Jasper had to say about staying sharp:

“On LinkedIn, there’s a lot of people preaching what the correct process is. Let me tell you something, nobody has the perfect process. As an SDR, we are like scientists. We need to keep experimenting to find the right formula. Being able to test different things is what is going to set you apart from the rest. One of the people that I personally follow is Morgan J Ingram.” – Manuel Martinez

(Manuel shared a helpful tip that Morgan J. Ingram teaches: When you leave a voice mail in a cold call, mention the subject line of the email that you sent. Don’t ask for a callback, but treat it as a brief introduction and a “check-in” that you reached out via email.)

“I follow Becc Holland…she’s one of the G.O.A.Ts. I also follow my team. I stay in touch with my directors, my managers, and my peers. Iron sharpens iron and we are always picking each other’s brains, telling each other our tips and tricks. Sales is a lifestyle, it’s an everyday thing…and I am very reliant on my team to be the best version I can be as an SDR.” – Isaac Cruz

“To stay sharp, I keep on learning. I love listening to podcasts, [some of my favorites are] Outbound Squad, Inside Selling, and 30 Minutes to President’s Club. There’s a lot of great information that they give out so try listening to those. Another resource I love is listening to Gong videos of AEs selling. I listen to how they ask questions, and how they did demos, and I also ask tips from my fellow SDRs and listen to their calls, too.” – Jasper Guilaran

We’ve included some more of Apollo’s favorite thought leaders in our SDR Essentials sheet. Download it here and give them a follow.

Topic #4: How do you work fast and cut out wasted time?

Time is a seller’s most precious (and most wasted) resource.

In the webinar’s final topic, our sellers discuss their strategies for trimming the fat from their workflows and getting deals down the sales funnel with speed and skill.

Have a game plan

Selling is experimental and innovative, but that doesn’t mean it’s sporadic. Closing deals requires careful and strategic planning.

“On my evenings or during the weekend, I create my lead lists for the whole week,” Manuel says, “I make sure I have what I need handy, so I can do everything that I need to do in a smooth way.”

Every day you clock in, you should know exactly what you plan to do. Make sure that you lay out:

  • Who you are going to contact and with what message
  • Which contacts need to be researched
  • Which meetings/calls you need to prepare for
  • Any important account details

Prepping for your daily tasks may feel time-consuming but in the long run, it will prevent wasted time and, more importantly, wasted leads.

Use omnichannel selling strategies

To save time closing on accounts, Isaac swears by omnichannel selling.

“If they are not answering on email, I’ll call them. If they are not answering my call or voicemail, I’ll hit them up through LinkedIn. Lately, I’ve even been experimenting with different texting apps,” Isaac says.

83% of B2B decision makers agree that omnichannel sales is more effective than traditional methods. Make sure you are trying all the different avenues to get in touch with your prospect.

Take accountability

We said it before and we’ll say it again—as salespeople, you face a lot of rejection.

Jasper talked about how, instead of making excuses, thinking about resources he lacks, or focusing on the negatives, it’s important that he stays committed to improving himself and his own skill sets.

“Take responsibility because that’s the only thing you can control in sales”, he adds, “And I think that’s the cool thing about having a single platform for day-to-day prospecting—it’s so easy to see what sequences are working or not. What calls were and weren’t successful, so at the end of the day you can really grow as an SDR and reach your full potential.”


To close the webinar, Manuel gave a demo of how he uses Apollo to manage his tasks, quickly identify the right buyers, and engage with them across multiple channels.

Check out the demo along with a full recording of the live webinar here.

And don’t forget to download our SDR sheet for all the essentials on being the ultimate SDR and smashing your quota, quarter after quarter.

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone